'Pak to restrict entry of Afghan evacuees to Islamabad'

Pakistan to restrict entry of Afghan evacuees to only Islamabad: Report

Pakistan would be using Karachi and Lahore airports only as standby options

A Pakistani soldier holds a gate as Afghan and Pakistani people wait to enter Afghanistan. Credit: AFP Photo

The Pakistan government has decided to accept evacuees from Afghanistan -- mostly transiting passengers to stay for a limited period -- only in capital Islamabad, dropping plans of using Karachi and Lahore as two other transport bases, according to a media report on Saturday.

The US embassy here had requested the Pakistan government to help in the evacuation efforts ahead of the August 31 deadline to completely withdraw from Afghanistan to cap its longest foreign war, spanning over 20 years after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Officials said that the Embassy sought permission for landing or transiting the passengers under three categories: US diplomats/citizens, Afghan nationals and people from other countries.

Read more: US troops have begun leaving Kabul airport: Pentagon

About 4,000 people, including the Afghans who supported the NATO forces during the war, were expected to be brought to Karachi and Islamabad for stay before being flown to the US.

However, official sources told Geo News that the federal government would be using Karachi and Lahore airports only as standby options, restricting the entry of the Afghan evacuees to only Islamabad.

The transit passengers would be present in Islamabad only for a few hours, before being flown to pre-decided countries.

Only emergency cases would be permitted accommodation in hotels in Islamabad, the sources told Geo News.

The plan to suspend entry of evacuees to Lahore and Karachi was taken in view of security concerns.

The Sindh government has been alerted of the changed plans, the news report said.

Officials said security has been increased around the Islamabad airport and the main highway linking the airport with the capital. 

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